Poll: Republican Voters Worry About a Candidate Who's Been Divorced Twice

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 17 2011 11:58 AM

Poll: Republican Voters Worry About a Candidate Who's Been Divorced Twice

Buried a bit in the big Bloomberg polls of Iowa and New Hampshire are questions that only apply to one candidate. This is the question.

As you evaluate the candidates for the Republican nomination, please tell me for each of the following if this would cause you to rule out a candidate from winning your vote or not. Just answer yes or no: If the candidate has been married three times and had extramarital affairs.
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In Iowa, 48 percent of caucus-goers say yes, "they would rule out" such a candidate; only 49 percent say they wouldn't. In the Live Free or Die state, it's 40 percent who rule such a candidate out, and 58 percent who don't. Bad news for Newt Gingrich.

Except... well, Bloomberg asked a bunch of questions, and found that every potential winner has a huge liability. "If the candidate has been accused of sexual harassment," 30 percent of Iowans and 43 percent of New Hampshire voters say they'd rule the candidate out. (Do note that discomfort with sexual harassment falls as obsession with personal marital status rises.) Sorry, Herman. In Iowa, 58 percent of voters rule a candidate out if "the candidate has favored a mandate to buy health insurance." In New Hampshire, it's 46 percent. Sorry, Mitt. In Iowa, 42 percent of voters rule a candidate if he "has supported in-state college tuition rates for American-born children of undocumented immigrants." In New Hampshire, it's 51 percent. Sorry, Rick. No, the other Rick.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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